1:25 pm - Thursday April 26, 2018

Conspiracy Of Cocked Hat-by Washington Irving-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name:Conspiracy of the Cocked Hats

Written by:Washington Irving

Category: Authors, Essays

Page 1:

TO THE EDITOR OF THE KNICKERBOCKER.

Sir,

I have read with great satisfaction the valuable paper of your correspondent, Mr. HERMANUS VANDERDONK, (who, I take it, is a descendant of the learned Adrian Vanderdonk, one of the early historians of the Nieuw-Nederlands,) giving sundry particulars, legendary and statistical, touching the venerable village of Communipaw and its fate-bound citadel, the House of the Four Chimneys. It goes to prove what I have repeatedly maintained, that we live in the midst of history and mystery and romance; and that there is no spot in the world more rich in themes for the writer of historic novels, heroic melodramas, and rough-shod epics, than this same business-looking city of the Manhattoes and its environs. He who would find these elements, however, must not seek them among the modern improvements and modern people of this moneyed metropolis, but must dig for them, as for Kidd the pirate’s treasures, in out-of-the-way places, and among the ruins of the past.

Poetry and romance received a fatal blow at the overthrow of the ancient Dutch dynasty, and have ever since been gradually withering under the growing domination of the Yankees. They abandoned our hearths when the old Dutch tiles were superseded by marble chimney-pieces; when brass andirons made way for polished grates, and the crackling and blazing fire of nut-wood gave place to the smoke and stench of Liverpool coal; and on the downfall of the last gable-end house, their requiem was tolled from the tower of the Dutch church in Nassau-street by the old bell that came from Holland. But poetry and romance still live unseen among us, or seen only by the enlightened few, who are able to contemplate this city and its environs through the medium of tradition, and clothed with the associations of foregone ages.

Would you seek these elements in the country, Mr. Editor, avoid all turnpikes, rail-roads, and steamboats, those abominable inventions by which the usurping Yankees are strengthening themselves in the land, and subduing every thing to utility and common-place. Avoid all towns and cities of white clapboard palaces and Grecian temples, studded with “Academics,” “Seminaries,” and “Institutes,” which glisten along our bays and rivers; these are the strong-holds of Yankee usurpation; but if haply you light upon some rough, rambling road, winding between stone fences, gray with moss, and overgrown with elder, poke-berry, mullein, and sweet-briar, with here and there a low, red-roofed, whitewashed farm-house, cowering among apple and cherry trees; an old stone church, with elms, willows, and button-woods, as old-looking as itself, and tombstones almost buried in their own graves; and, peradventure, a small log school-house at a cross-road, where the English is still taught with a thickness of the tongue, instead of a twang of the nose; should you, I say, light upon such a neighborhood, Mr. Editor, you may thank your stars that you have found one of the lingering haunts of poetry and romance.

Your correspondent, Sir, has touched upon that sublime and affecting feature in the history of Communipaw, the retreat of the patriotic band of Nederlanders, led by Van Horne, whom he justly terms the Pelayo of the New-Netherlands. He has given you a picture of the manner in which they ensconced themselves in the House of the Four Chimneys, and awaited with heroic patience and perseverance the day that should see the flag of the Hogen Mogens once more floating on the fort of New-Amsterdam.

Your correspondent, Sir, has but given you a glimpse over the threshold; I will now let you into the heart of the mystery of this most mysterious and eventful village.

Yes, sir, I will now–“unclasp a secret book; And to your quick conceiving discontents, I’ll read you matter deep and dangerous, As full of peril and adventurous spirit, As to o’er walk a current, roaring loud, On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.”

Sir, it is one of the most beautiful and interesting facts connected with the history of Communipaw, that the early feeling of resistance to foreign rule, alluded to by your correspondent, is still kept up. Yes, sir, a settled, secret, and determined conspiracy has been going on for generations among this indomitable people, the descendants of the refugees from New-Amsterdam; the object of which is to redeem their ancient seat of empire, and to drive the losel Yankees out of the land.

Filed in: Essays

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